Dirt’s regular contributor, Steve ‘The Butcher’ Walker sheds some light on a problem that seems to affect many of us in one way or another…
I have a problem…bike addiction.
My name is Steve Walker. I’m a butcher, I’m married (sometimes happily, sometimes not), have two kids, a cat, an artificial greenhouse (that blows over in 5mph winds), two deep filled vegetable plots (that the local cats use as their toilet), a water feature (that has never worked and gives me electric shocks), a tree in the garden (that’s so big that friggin giants move in and out of it, and it blocks out the day light and costs a fortune to have pruned), a badger (which I don’t actually own) with a bad attitude, who attacks me on my weekly night ride, and I’ve got a strange obsession with alpacas and why they look just like lamas, but are called alpacas.
However, my biggest problem is that I buy bikes. Then I sell them. Sometimes I have been known to buy back the same bike (or frame, or fork) a few months later. Pretty fucked up eh. In the last ten years I have probably bought and sold more bikes than most people have in a lifetime. But, I’m not alone.
My mate Chris has been known to buy and sell three, maybe four downhill bikes in a twelve month spell, each bike being, ‘state of the art’. All with factory this, tuned that. All having the honour and title of the ‘best bike I’ve ever ridden’ statement, but in reality, all pretty much the same. Chris currently holds the title of ‘Buying and selling of all that is the same or similar’. He’s my hero.
Then there’s my mate Nick. Nick must have 15,000 mother fuckin pounds worth of bikes that are absolutely mint. They are all immaculate because he never rides them (unlike Derry, who lives to ride). Nick spends more time prepping, making notes of shock settings, the psi of this with the stroke of that, than buying and selling bikes (that he’s spent countless hours researching), and then when the time comes to actually riding the things he’s burnt out. He knows it, so do I, and now you lot do too. Nick loves anything CARBON. I’ve heard that once while in his local bike shop they had a massive delivery of CARBON. The CARBON handlebars got him going, then came out the CARBON seat-posts (which rev’d him up a bit more), then the staff unwrapped a fork with a CARBON crown (at this point Nick started foaming at the mouth), but when the CARBON frames came out, well, it was game over. Put it this way, I’ve heard you could see a wet patch on his jeans. Nick is the current holder of the title ‘All things CARBON, that’s hardly ridden then sold…with a wet look’.
Here’s my story. I’ll tell you straight. I’m the current title holder of ‘All bikes, mountain, road, BMX (twenty inch and cruiser), cyclo-cross and tandem, that’s bought, ridden to death, in a short period of time, sold, then bought again’. I should have my own web site; ‘Ibuyanybike(thensellitandbuyitback).com’. In the last two years I have bought and sold two titanium XC hardtails, two Trek Top Fuels (I’m currently on my third), two Orange Fives, two Santa Cruz Nomads (one being a retro old school mark one), a carbon Blur, three 4X race bikes (a Yeti DJ, a Transition Bank and an Identiti Krisis SL), two Giant TCR road bikes, a Litespeed road bike, two Cannondale cyclocross bikes, a Santa Cruz Stigmata ,and a ridiculously expensive carbon Flash. That’s just in two years! Cha-fuckin-ching. Funny eh????
I’m pretty sure I told myself there was a valid reason for selling each and every one of the above but here’s the real reason, and where this, my story (and it is the hardest one I’ve ever told) becomes a bit dark and meaningful compared to how I usually write.
I suffer with depression. Highs and lows. The highs being the bike buying and first few months of riding them. The lows being when I’m bored (or think I am) and the selling of them. Now you may be thinking ‘what a wanka’, and rightly so, but the fact is that I’m not alone in my battle against ‘bike buying’, the constant pressures of our society as a whole, which in turn leads us to do crazy things (financially anyway).
I sometimes think I should perhaps turn to religion for help and guidance. But being that I’m an atheist, the men (or women) of the cloth have a tendency to get up my nose. The closest I ever get to having a religious experience is clearing a twenty foot double (I don’t jump as far these days) or watching someone do a good wheel build. King hubs. Ti spokes. Silver nipples. Custom colours. Ooohhh yeah baby. Now I’ve got a wet patch…
Magazines play a part in convincing us that we need this bike and that. It’s true. It feels a bit weird stating this (but it’s a fact) when you actually work (if only part time) for one. Talk about biting the hand that feeds you. This is why it is so important for ‘journos’ who product and bike test to be brutally honest. I know for a fact that one of Steve Jones’ bike reviews can be the difference to someone having a healthy bank balance to one that’s Ebola type sickly. Steve doesn’t have a clue about how much his reviews actually influence us ‘bike addicts’. He’s just doing his job (which he takes seriously), but if you are a ‘bike addict’ what’s good for ‘big J’ may not work for YOU and the terrain YOU ride (just bear that in mind).
I don’t really know how to finish off this article as it was Mike the editors idea and the e-mail that I had off him was a bit of a piss take, but at the same time a wake-up call.
So…it’s 12.27 on Sunday the 6th of January and I’m currently on my sixth day of my new year’s resolution. You’ve probably already guessed what that is (plus I’m a bit fatter than I should be) and I’m so very tempted to go on the net after I’ve finished typing this as I need a new 4X frame. At least I think I do?
“Kate (my wife) for god’s sake pass me the phone, and while you’re there what’s the number for the Samaritans?”
Engaged again? Oh god, now were in trouble…
‘Butch’ (ala if in doubt, get your credit card out)
If you too have a problem (or have any bikes for sale) please get in touch, it’s good to talk, or so my councillor says.